About Melzy Creations
Mel Lefer, a native New Yorker, created and operated two popular San Francisco restaurants in the 1970s and ‘80s, and had eaten, smoked and worked himself into a body that was killing him. Mel suffered a massive heart attack in 1985 at age 53. The heart attack did so much damage, surgery wasn’t an option. The prognosis was grim. Luckily, there was a soon-to-be famous health study about to begin, and Dr. Dean Ornish of the Sausalito-based Preventive Medicine Research Institute asked Mel to take part in it. Ornish told Mel that if he changed his diet and lifestyle he could return to health.
Mel drank many cups of coffee and smoked 6 cigars a daypolaroid of Mel in 1978
At the time, the benefits of a low-fat diet were largely unknown to the general public. "The only thing that you could get nonfat back then was skim milk," Mel said. Almost no one thought that the man who smoked six Cuban cigars a day and enjoyed eating out at San Francisco's best restaurants could give it all up and become a vegetarian. Even Mel’s physician discouraged Ornish from taking Mel into the study, saying he doubted Mel would live out the year.
Mel gave up meat for meditationCastanets and meditation totemEKG report and stetoscope
1985-2004 -- Mel proved all his doubters wrong. He lost weight and adopted a healthier lifestyle. He stopped smoking, eating meat and gave up cigars and his six cups of coffee a day. He started exercising regularly, took up yoga and meditation (even became a certified yoga instructor) and did everything Dr. Ornish told him. He lived and, gradually, his heart and health revived. Mel went on to teach workshops to corporations and individuals about the benefits of the Ornish-inspired low-fat diet and healthy lifestyle. While current health fads focus on low-carb everything, Mel continues to follow the low-fat, plant based dietary principles that saved his life. He's always on the lookout for new tastes that fit into his routine, though.
2005-Present -- "As you can see, I'm still trying to get something good to eat," he said. His problem with various energy bars is that they have a lot of fat. "They put a lot of stuff in there that's not good for you." Instead, Mel’s goal was to create a healthy candy bar. "Dark chocolate, they're finding out, is really powerful," Mel said. "It has a lot more antioxidants than green tea or red wine. It’s a healthy product, but has way too much fat." It turns out that Figs are their own super-food too. Ounce for ounce, Figs contain more calcium than whole milk, more potassium than bananas and more fiber than prunes.
Even after Mel’s epiphany, it was difficult to find a manufacturer to help him produce it. "They said 'You're crazy! Nobody makes fig candy,’" Mel said with a laugh. It turns out that someone does now. Figamajigs are a blend of figs and cocoa that’s covered in dark chocolate.“You won’t find them next to the Hershey bars. It’s a healthy snack. There’s nothing else out there like it,” Mel said with a smile. Not only is it a hit with Mel’s grandsons, it's also a smash with his wife's Weight Watchers group, because they found out the candy only counts for 3-4 points on the program's new point system.
"They started going to the store and buying them by the box," Mel said. "This candy bar has only 3 grams of fat and 4 grams of fiber. I like to call them ‘medicine for the fast food nation.’ Mel's grandsons love figamajigsMel's grandsons love figamajigs In 2012, Mel created a new candy bar called WhatsoNutso. This one is made with peanut butter and chocolate but, like Figamajigs, is a healthy alternative to traditional candy. Mel and his wife Lenore have been married for 50 years and have two sons and three grandchildren (Ben, Zach and Sam). He continues to innovate...